Wanted: Unique applications for energy chain systems

The vector award from igus has entered the next round – for the ninth time, the award recognises designers and project managers who show creativity and imagination in the use of energy supply systems and cables made of high-performance plastic.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and Industry 4.0 are trending topics in the media and the public, where the image tends to be intelligent, connected factories and products. “It’s easy to forget that engineers are also making huge progress in other, supposedly inconspicuous areas,” says Justin Leonard, e-chain director at igus UK. “For example, in the routing of cables and hoses in machines and systems.” Machine designers increasingly need more skill and knowhow in this “smart” technology.

As technology improves, customer applications become more demanding, and there are several good examples with energy chains:

  • Hydraulic lines weighing several tons that move smoothly over more than one kilometre, as found in in gigantic bucket wheel excavators
  • Data cables that follow the wildest 3D movements on articulated-arm robots in factories
  • Energy chain systems that meet the world’s strictest cleanroom requirements in electronics production
  • Control cables that are designed to work in the smallest installation spaces, barely larger than a shoe box

“Every day, we see how designers all over the world implement extraordinary ideas with our energy chains and cables in order to meet these increasing demands. And durable e-chain systems make a significant contribution to sustainability,” says Leonard. “The vector award 2024 celebrates these creative solutions that often fly under the radar, but increasingly have an impact on the efficiency and profitability of products.”

Engineers can now apply for the vector award at www.igus.co.uk/vector. The deadline for entries is February 9, 2024. An expert jury, comprising jurors from science, trade media, industrial exhibitions and trade associations, will analyse and judge the entries. And the vector awards prizes to the most extraordinary and powerful ideas that are characterised by creativity and courage – the willingness to try a solution. The winner receives the golden vector trophy and 5,000 euros in prize money, the runner-up receives the silver vector and 2,500 euros, and third place gets the bronze vector and 1,000 euros.

Finally the green vector awards projects that have a strong sustainability focus with a 1,000 prize euros. The vector award ceremony traditionally takes place at the Hannover Exhibition in April.

The competition has been held biannually since 2008. Next year will be the ninth awards and it is growing in popularity worldwide – in 2022, 233 applications were received from 36 countries. Last year, Hungarian company Gepber Szinpad was happy with its first place. They had developed a multifunctional hall with automated rows of chairs that change their formation at the touch of a button. The green vector was won by Dercks Gartenbau for developing a very precise trolley for watering potted plants.

“The vector award is also an excellent opportunity for engineers and companies to gain global attention, expand their network and win new customers, and with this in mind, we are hoping for many exciting projects this time,” Leonard adds.

igus (UK) Ltd

51A Caswell Road

+44 (0)1604 677240



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